Promundo and Dove Men+Care partnered to carry out a pioneering study, surveying over 1,700 men and women aged 25 to 45 in the United States, on what keeps fathers from taking parental leave and being the fully involved caregivers they want to be. The results – released in the Helping Dads Care report – confirm first and foremost that fathers want to be involved.
The study found that 73% of dads agreed there was little workplace support for fathers, and one in five men were afraid of losing their job if they took the full amount of paternity leave offered to them. Of note, 69% of fathers confirmed they would change jobs to spend more time with their children. Results also showed that men reported being more satisfied with their lives, including their sex lives, when they can be the caregivers they want to be.
What holds them back? Dads worry what others will think if they prioritize their children over their work, and they worry that their income, and their family’s income, will suffer if they take parental leave. Additionally, two traditional stereotypes are still significant barriers: that men should be the primary breadwinners and that women should be the primary caregivers for children.
Too few workplaces provide paid leave for fathers, and even when they do, too few fathers take their full leave because they worry about what others think about them, particularly at work.